Welcome to Our Animal Wisdom where we celebrate and explore our spiritual connections as animals of planet earth to all other animals and beings of planet earth. “Our Animal Wisdom” refers to the voice of Spirit speaking to us through our brother and sister beings on this beautiful planet as well as through the inner knowing of our deep intuitive minds and hearts.  At this site we combine the insight of an intuitive animal communicator with the perspectives and practices of shamanism and hypnotherapy to access these messages and offer them to our conscious minds in name of greater appreciation and understanding of ourselves and all life.

Thoughts Without Words

Thinker monkeyI recently received an email from a friend asking if I would have difficulty communicating with an animal in another country who was used to hearing a different language spoken. While I knew immediately that wouldn’t be a problem, I understood the basis for the question, which then inspired this post. I realized that maybe a little explanation might be of general benefit.

So let’s break it down. We humans are completely enamored with words. I am tempted to say that we are hypnotized by them. We are so accustomed to putting words to our thoughts, and are taught to do so at such a young age, that it’s sometimes difficult for us to even imagine, much less believe, that thought actually exists independently of words.  The old (and irritating) phrase “dumb animals” refers to the lack of words, but also clearly implies the lack of thought, even though nothing could be farther from the truth.

Thought is an aspect of consciousness — ALL consciousness — that does not require words. Thought travels very, very quickly.  Humans, on average, think about 50,000 thoughts a day.  That averages out to about 35 thoughts every single minute of every hour, waking and sleeping. We are unaware of most of these thoughts. The few we are able to “catch” are those that we focus on and slow down enough to put into words.

There are a great many “channels” of thought other than words. Humans often, with varying degrees of accuracy, lump thought that does not involve words under the headings of either “intuition” or “instinct.”

These channels can include:
Physical sensations
Smells (Yes, really. This is a big one for your dog or cat.)
Sounds/noises/music, etc. (a.k.a. the “audio” channel — which can include words, but encompasses so much more)

Every animal on this planet (yes, YOU are an animal on this planet) has the ability to receive and exchange thoughts without words.

Sometimes we receive thoughts instantaneously in large blocks of pure, unfiltered, wordless information that may take a long time — hours, days, months, even years –to fully understand, process, and then translate into appropriately nuanced words. In “new age” terms this is often referred to as a “download.” Creative writers may call it “inspiration” — that light-bulb idea that comes in a flash and is actually worked out, understood, and expressed through the process of writing.  Visual artists are often able to translate the information directly into images, bypassing words completely.  Remember that saying about an image being worth 1,000 words?

The process of translating and expressing thoughts with words is a specific element of what we humans call the “art of communication.” We even use words in our own minds to communicate with ourselves. We assign words as we organize our many thoughts, and choose which ones to give our attention to.

In communicating with other animals we have to be willing to let go of words in order to focus instead on the essential thought — the information that is behind the words.   Animals, having no words to let go of, are much better than we humans at this type of communication, and are usually able to pick up on the feelings and images that we transmit to them with relative ease.   But we can make it even easier for them to understand us by remembering that our words are just symbols and placing our attention on the images and feelings that convey the underlying meaning of our words.  For example, if you tell your dog that you’re going to the park, picture the park, perhaps visualizing you and your dog playing there together. Feel a sense of fun and eagerness about the experience.   The more you are able to allow the images and feelings that are represented by your words to flow close to the surface of your mind as you speak, the easier it will be for your animals to understand you. Your very awareness of the process will make it that much more effective.

With practice, this awareness will expand so that it will become easier for you to recognize and decipher the wordless thoughts, images, and feelings that your animals transmit to you all the time — usually without you even realizing it.

Of course, at this point, you will naturally tend to translate their communications to you into words, because that is, after all, how we humans make sense of such things.  It’s possible to do this so quickly and automatically that it can seem as though you are actually hearing the words spoken in your head, but that’s really what I call our “inner translation system” and not the actual mechanism of the communication.  The animal isn’t speaking the words to you, you are supplying the words to match the animal’s thought.

So, don’t worry if you meet a dog or cat that is accustomed to hearing French or Hungarian or Japanese rather than English.  You can still communicate just fine.  Human language is never a barrier to communication when thought is transmitted without words.

The Tale of the Owl and the Whale

OwlcollageAnd now for something completely different . . .

New year, new idea! I thought that, from time to time, it would be a hoot (pardon the pun) to share something entertaining and “Just for Fun,” so I’ve created a special new category just for those occasions.  This story, which I hope could grow up to be a fully illustrated children’s book someday, evolved out of an animal divination I did several years ago.  I was using cards then, instead of stones, and pulled two to answer a question that I can’t even remember.  As you can probably guess from the title of this post, those cards were the Owl and the Whale.  The meanings of the individual animals were immediately clear and obvious, but what fascinated me most was the relationship between them.  Talk about two animals not likely to “meet” in the wild!  This story became my attempt to envision that meeting: how could it happen, and how might each of these wise creatures be affected and changed by that chance encounter?

Owl reached the branch of the tall tree on the cliff above the sea just before dawn. It was a short flight from the forest where she lived and a pleasant place to muse and dream after the night’s hunt.

Lulled by the rhythm of the sea below, Owl settled into the peace and silence and let her thoughts drift upon the winds. Soon she could tell where the currents of air merged with those of the sea, and her awareness drew closer and closer to the big water. She heard a deep toning from beneath the waves and recognized it as the voice of a vast being just below the surface of the sea.

“Who? Who?” asked Owl.whale

Air and Water carried Owl’s query beneath the waves, where Whale heard and pondered the question. Finally, he raised his huge head and sang Himself in answer. He sang the name that only he knew, the name that conveyed the most basic truth of his soul. “I am I” is what the whale’s song said.

“Who?” asked Owl.

At once Whale realized his mistake. “Of course,” he thought. “What good does it do to sing the song of my uniqueness to someone who has no knowledge of my kind of being?” So Whale sang of his self, his nature. He sang of the age and majesty of the whale-kind. He sang of the pleasures, the graces, sorrows, fears, accomplishments and destiny of his race. It was a wondrous song. Whale was sure he had answered Owl in fullness and beauty.

“Who?” asked Owl, still unsatisfied.

How can I make you understand?” wondered Whale. Then he realized. “Of course. What good does it do to sing the song of my uniqueness or the nature of my kind to someone who cannot comprehend the very element in which I live, someone who knows only earth and sky? “ So, Whale sang again. He sang long and lovingly of the sea, of its strength and tenderness, it’s power, passion and beauty, it’s lights and shadows and the ever-changing flow of it’s life. He sang of the countless other creatures that make the sea their home, and of the long evolution of life from the sea to the land and sky. Whale sang of the way all of the life force of the whole planet merges together in the sea, generating its constant pulse. He sang of the way the sea carries the messages of earth and sky to every other part of earth and sky, connecting the whole planet, all the life everywhere on earth and nourishing it. When Whale finally finished singing he had sung all that he knew, all that he had and all that he was. He felt fulfilled and at peace. He knew that if he had not given Owl her answer, it was not within his power to give. He waited patiently for Owl’s reply.

Owl was silent, her queries spent, her wisdom enriched by Whale’s songs. The sun’s light was just breaking through the red and purple cracks in the night sky.

With slow magnificence, Owl spread her wings and cast herself upon the wind. She soared high, and then dropped down, circling the deep water below. Once, twice, three times she circled, and then flew off toward the cliffs and her forest home, carrying with her the resonant echoes of Whale’s songs.

Whale felt the splendor of Owl’s response with gladness and pride. Slowly, with equal majesty, he cast himself upon the waves. He rode into the sea’s depths toning thoughtfully a new song of the fearless, soaring beauty of Owl’s flight.

Copyright 2016 Dara Tuell

An Animal Stone Reading for the New Year

Fullreading(I’m back, after a long hiatus, and I offer this post as both apology and re-entry gift. For those who have been curious about the animal stone readings I provide as one of my services (http://ouranimalwisdom.com/services/readings/), I’m about to give you a taste.  This is my New Year’s reading for visitors of this site.

First, let me set the stage. I do my readings on a small, portable altar with offerings placed to each of the four directions. In the photo at the left, the black and white agate at the bottom, represents the North, and the bronze solar lion at the top is my offering for the South. The directional placement of the stones, along with the symbolic and archetypal meanings of the animal and mineral energies determine it’s interpretation in the reading.  I do use elemental associations with the directions, and if these are not the ones that you are used to, please remember that there are many different systems, and mine are in part determined by my own geographical locale.  I live in California where there is ocean to the West (Water) and mountains to the North (Earth).  At this point I also feel a need to briefly apologize for my shortcomings as a photographer.  I wanted to show the stone animals I use, some of which are actual native fetishes, others merely small animals carved of semi-precious stone, but they are all quite small and difficult for an rank amateur such as myself to capture on camera.  I ask you to fill in the gaps with your imaginations.

A final disclaimer: of necessity, this reading will be somewhat simpler and more abbreviated than what I could offer over the phone. But, again, I am hopeful that it will be enough to ignite your own imagination and intuition to bridge any gaps.)

To begin, the Question: “What does Spirit most want those likely to see this message to be aware of in 2016?”

brownbearFor the center of the reading — which is roughly equivalent to the significator card in a tarot reading, and indicates who we are for purposes of the reading itself — I chose Bear, specifically Brown Bear.  This speaks to the role of Winter and the dark time of year that we are now inhabiting.  Deep in hibernation, actively dreaming and engaged in the powerful — but as yet unconscious –creativity that will result in new birth, it works upon our deep subconscious minds and inner knowing, or intuition. We are now inwardly focused in a place of creatively dreaming all that is waiting to be born of our hopes, desires and actions, all that will emerge during the coming months of returning light and life.

Because of the way I phrased my question as an invitation to a message from Spirit, I chose the reading format I call a “chaos reading,” which means that the stones are thrown so that they fall where they will, instead of being drawn and intentionally placed in certain positions.  From my bag I drew — blindly without looking at them (or trying to figure it out by feel) —  six additional stones, shook them up between my closed hands and tossed them like dice into the reading. They landed as shown in the photo at the beginning of this post.

To the east of our central Bear is a small ebony rabbit. blackbunnyThe black rabbit, as I call it, is one of two I have in my bag. This dark one symbolizes the underground Rabbit, the rabbit sheltered, hidden and safe in its burrow, in its place of magic and power.  Rabbit is a minor trickster and it’s placement so close but to the East of Center indicates that magic is simmering beneath the surface, not quite ready to emerge. This reinforces the message of Bear, and lets us stay focused on our inner work and dreaming at this time knowing that the time for emergence is not yet but will be soon. It also alerts us to the possibility of fun and games, new adventures, and possibly the necessity for risk-taking dawning on the horizon.  If we are feeling at all vulnerable or fearful about the future, just relax and know that in this moment, this time of dreaming, we are safe.

Moving from East to South and West, we find Frog just above and slightly Southwest of Center, with Dolphin directly below and almost close enough to touch Frog, Because of their proximity, I will read these two together.  frog & dolphin

To begin with, both are beings most often associated with the element of water, yet both are actually creatures of more than one element. Frog symbolizes cleansing as well as transformation and the ability to transition from one form of being into another, completely different one. With its deep voice, and nighttime choral performances, Frog alerts us to the possibility of using ceremony and celebration to invite cleansing and transformation in this time of new beginnings.

Dolphin — a water dwelling, air breathing mammal — is also associated with sound, particularly its use of sonar to navigate in deep water, and with the conscious use of the breath to connect with the divine.

These two water creatures, coupled so closely, speak strongly of navigating our own subconscious and emotional waters to consciously invoke healing and transformation.  We can assist the process of bringing the deep and powerful subconscious creativity represented by Bear to the surface of ourselves by doing conscious breathwork, and through the use of music and ritual.

Moving clockwise to the Northwest, we have a small black Bear.  blackbearThis takes us back into our inner sanctum, our place of creative intuition, with a deeper awareness and a more mature ability and intent to emerge and climb to new heights of awareness and achievement. (Black Bear is the climber of the bears, unlike the brown or white bear.)

To the farthest point north of Center lies Deer. Deer is an animal of great gentleness and innocence. It is in the position to the farthest north of any animal in the reading — the North being the place of our greatest wisdom, maturity and strength, the place where we find the deepest parts of ourselves and rise to our greatest heights.  Deer shows us the path of walking gently and lovingly in the world, with our hearts wide open to wonder.  This becomes a source of great strength.  Deer

Immediately below our central Bear — between brown Bear and Deer, but slightly to the East (Northeast) is a small stone that I like to call the “mystery beast.”   mystery beastI call it a mystery beast because it’s obviously meant to be some kind of animal, but I’ve never been able to determine exactly which one. I use it in a reading to hold space for all the many species of animals that I don’t have stones for and that wouldn’t fit in my bag anyway. In other words, and especially for this reading which is not just for one person but for many, it’s a place to fill in the animal and message that is the most meaningful for each individual. What a delightful and magically appropriate opportunity to make this New Year’s divination interactive and personal for every reader!

So, I invite each of you to take a moment, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Feel the earth beneath your feet and the heavens above you. Know your Self as the center where all directions meet, and feel your connection as part of the natural world. Know that you, yourself, in this moment, are as much a part of Earth and Nature as a tree, a blossom, a river or a star. Open yourself and ask for the animal who will guide you in the coming year to reveal itself to you. Breathe, and Feel. Breathe — See. Breathe, and Listen. Breathe — Hear. Breathe, and Know. Take a moment to jot down all impressions, and any message you may have received. This is Spirit’s gift exclusively to and for YOU in this new year.

Winding to a close now, I note that all of the stones fell quite close to the Center — nothing very far afield or off the board.  To summarize the messages I glean from this reading of the stones: Begin within, honoring dreams, feelings and intuition, recognizing yourself as both the center and the creator of your world. Allow and follow the magical guidance of your natural needs and impulses — particularly those towards playfulness and fun.  Laugh, sing, use your breath and your voice to consciously connect with Divine Guidance in order to emerge as a higher and better version of yourself.  Be gentle and loving — especially with YOU — for you are the dreamer and the dream, the guide, healer, teacher, and creator of your life and your experience.

Blessings of the new year from Our Animal Wisdom.

Animal Spirit Message: Lion

lion-family-105624469667The sun is in Leo and the word is that the Lion’s Gate Portal, a star portal open from July 26 through August 12th, (perhaps associated with the star Sirius, and the constellation of Leo, and linked, somehow, to the pyramids of ancient Egypt) reaches its peak today. With so much about the recent passing of Cecil the lion in the news, and hopes and prayers that this much-publicized killing will lead somehow to an increase in consciousness about the need to honor and respect our animal kindred, this seems like the perfect and inevitable time for the following animal spirit message from Lion. In reaching for this message, so many symbols that various cultures around the world have associated with this great cat —  Sekhmet, Bast, Ariel, Leo, Aslan, the heraldry of European royalty — swam before my inner eye. I touched briefly the wise, sweet energy of my friend, Jahari, the male lion at the San Francisco zoo, before coming to the great Spirit Pride of Lion.  Somewhat to my surprise, Lion owned and accepted all of the associations I had just made and incorporated them in the following message to us.

We know you. We speak as symbols of power, royalty, might and majesty –especially the majesty of Life, or Nature, or that which you call God. We speak as beasts of planet Earth who live and dwell in ever-dwindling wild places. We speak as Guardians of the gate of the worlds where dream and thought shift into form and shape themselves into the substance of physical manifestation. We know you. We know you for your kind and ours have helped to shape each other, because we have created together for so long. You look to us as symbols and yet you do not feel our kinship and oneness with all Life. You do not feel your own. You cannot ever rule over that which you do not acknowledge or claim within your self. You have looked to our kind to show you the ways of sovereignity and we show you by our very being that we are sovereign only to ourselves. You must own your true selfhood and your oneness with all that is. Claim your power within yourselves. That will bring you peace from all the unrest and strife within and without.

Stand in the truth of your nature and relish the Life that flows through you. Express it freely and truly and boldly. That is all we know and all that you-we truly are.

This Gate that you speak of, the Lion’s Gate, is the gate of self-realization, of God realization. It is knowledge and power in the simplicity of living and loving Life, of being and expressing who you truly are — and only that.

It is simple for us. We have no other truth. You have found so many ways to obscure the simplicity of this truth for yourself. Stop and let go of all that is untrue. Be yourself, know yourself, and look to no other for your truth.

We do not let others tell us how to be Lion. We simply are. All the beasts of the earth know this except you humans who are always looking for and to other “authorities” to tell you who and how to be.  The authority on this is always and only yourself.  That is who you are here to be. Be powerful and be true. Look to no other but yourself. That is all.

Animal Spirit Message: Seal

23923_1600x1200-wallpaper-cb1280341596It is delicious, delightful being me. I know the worlds of deep water and land, diving deep, skimming lightly on the surface, sunning myself on the rocks. I am as changeable and adaptable as the sea in which I live. There is so much to experience, life is joyful and varied. I follow the fish which nourish me, so it is always a merry chase, an adventure and a feast.

Your kind are interesting to me, so different, so resolute, so unheeding, sometimes so cruel, often equally kind. I would like to feel more of the joy of life in your folk. All the water folk know much joy, much lightness of spirit. We have buoyancy. I like that word. I enjoy describing me through your words. This is a delightful dance.

You begin to feel it, the essence of me. It is buoyant and joyful, contrasting delights of being part of the different worlds of land and sea. Otter is akin to us, to the essence of what we are, but we are more nurturing, less about games and more about exploring the depths.

You may think of me as a guide on your journey through the deep waters of your life and inner being. The inner self of humans, the flow of Spirit through the world, is much like the sea that I swim. Too often, humans are afraid of the depths of themselves. Yet it is the depth of the water that allows it to fully support you. Trust the depth and your own buoyancy, let your hearts be light and life will be good for you. Be curious, love your physical form and enjoy your experience of it. I am happy to help humans in this way if asked with love and respect. Humans wield much power upon the earth, and the happier and more connected they are, the better it is for all the creatures of the earth.  For this reason we are willing to help you.

The Courteous Cat

photo (30)Cats value courtesy. This statement will come as no surprise to those who love cats.  They are inherently courteous creatures.  Of course, cats have their own ideas about courtesy and occasionally those ideas are quite different from ours. But the differences are mostly surface, in the way that one culture’s ideas of courtesy can differ from another’s. The underlying value of consideration and respect demonstrated through good manners is the same.

What is a cat’s idea of courtesy?

Some of their notions do seem strange to us. My cat, Luna, was lucky enough to stay with her mama as a kitten for a full three months. I’m convinced that she was thoroughly drilled in good manners during that time. By feline standards she is exquisitely polite.

When she jumps on my lap and turns rearward, waving her tail in my face, I know that she is offering me her most enthusiastically courteous greeting. If I were gifted with a proper feline sense of smell, this would be my opportunity to monitor her physical and emotional well-being, the state of her grooming, and learn all the other volumes of information that another cat could glean about her from a quick sniff. While many humans find this behavior humorous or even offensive, I am always careful to acknowledge and thank her for her politeness before signaling with a gentle nudge that I would like her to move into another position. Her courtesy is in no way diminished by the fact that my human sense of smell is inadequate to the honor being shown me.

In any discussion of feline manners, a cat’s pride is a most important consideration, and much feline etiquette revolves around avoiding embarrassment and saving face — for self or others. (Think Japanese?)

One of the most brilliant observations of feline manners was articulated by Paul Gallico in his wonderful children’s book “The Abandoned.” It is the statement, “When in doubt, wash.”  Watch your cat sit down to groom in any moment of uncertainty, confusion or potential embarrassment and you will see this in action. Grooming, even a quick lick or two, offers both a distraction and a time out, a chance to regain one’s poise, redirect attention and reset the moment.  This naturally leads to another important, related, rule of cat etiquette: “don’t interrupt a cat’s grooming, especially the face-saving kind.”  Nothing could be more rude!

In our house, face saving etiquette often consists of giving everyone their space. My two cats are a year apart in age and have never been snuggle buddies. They played together in the early days when Luna was still smaller than Rune, but when she grew too large to believably play “prey” anymore, they opted for a carefully crafted illusion of distance. This doesn’t  necessarily involve physical distance.  It’s a polite fiction. They have courteously adopted the rule “If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist,” to cover a multitude of situations, like sharing a small corner of the bed or even my lap. The trick is for each of them to face in a different direction. Even if their rear ends are touching, they don’t see it —  it’s not happening. If you’ve ever noticed your cat studiously ignoring you when you’ve just done something awkward or embarrassing (in the cat’s opinion) you can be assured that your cat is treating you most graciously.

Just as humans fail to appreciate the niceties of feline manners, many of the finer points of human etiquette are obviously lost on cats. Yet a cat will genuinely appreciate your efforts to show them respect and consideration.  The words “please” and “thank you” may not have much meaning to your cat but the fact that you are “asking nicely” and expressing appreciation will be understood and received far better than a rude command. I actually do use those magic words when I make requests of Rune or Luna because I explained to them long ago that they are are good manners to humans and I know they appreciate my attempts at politeness.

Other demonstrations of courtesy that cats will appreciate are:

  • proper greetings and leavetaking — do say hello to them when you come in, and let them know when you’re leaving;
  • acknowledge and pay attention to them when they try to engage you — even if it is only to say you are busy now, and will play later. Ignoring someone is never polite;
  • showing your gratitude and appreciation of and for them. No one wants to be taken for granted.

Most importantly, respect their pride and don’t mock or laugh at them even when they are unintentionally “funny.”  (Okay, sometimes you can’t help the laugh, but let them know that your laughter is an expression of your joy in them and not unkind derision.) In short, offer them much the same consideration you would show to the human members of your household.  They will reciprocate in their own ways and your relationship is sure to benefit. Courtesy is rarely wasted on a cat.

It’s also important to remember that cats are individuals as we are, and manners and standards of politeness vary greatly from one to another. One cat’s good manners may be rude by another’s standards, and there are cats — just like there are humans — who choose deliberate rudeness as a way of making a statement. You will know your own cat best, and careful observation will grant you insight into its intents and values.  Again, the basis of courtesy is consideration and respect. As you keep this in mind, and offer these to your cat, you will notice the ways in which your cat responds in kind as a naturally courteous cat.

Animal Spirit Message: What the Fox Say?

12667_1280x1024-wallpaper-cb1267713332If you’re groaning at the title of this post — ask yourself: could you have resisted?  After Rabbit appeared precipitously in February, I was wondering who would show up for me now that we’re on the verge of Spring.  Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that it was Fox.  What does surprise me, is the Fox considers itself to be a “mirror” as well as a master of diversion.  If there are any magicians or illusionists out there, then Fox is definitely your animal guide.   I’m still pondering the idea of Fox as “Mirror” and what that means. I’d welcome input in the comments.

Who am I? Why I am ME! As you acknowledge my beauty, and strength, and quickness, and intelligence, and devotion, I feel your love and offer it back to you. I am all of that, indeed, and I am also a mirror. I reflect everything around me back to itself and back to others their own truth, whether they be animal or plant, predator or prey. They will see themselves when they look at me. That is why it is so hard to pin Fox down, because I am always shifting and changing depending on where I am and who I am with. When I am near, others see themselves more clearly.  Me they see only as I allow.

The essence of me is simple and true and I can never lose it. For me there are no obstacles, no barriers, no boundaries of perception. To fool the eye you must always be aware of everything so that you can use whatever is available to divert the flow of attention. You must have stillness within, and the ability to take stock even when moving quickly through the world. All things are always in motion. Fox will teach you to choose your focus, how to direct your attention and that of others, so that they will see only what you wish them to.

What would I like to tell humans? Let yourselves be light and know that it is all a game. Even “life and death” is just a game that offers moments of exhilaration and joy.  Find freedom in play, instead of making everything so serious. Love the moment. Live it, dance with it, one moment into the next. You don’t know what the next moment will bring, much less tomorrow, so don’t waste time in fear. Live now!

Some “Golden” Words

Golden-Retriever-Smile-600x450Sometimes life doesn’t quite go as planned. (I know I’m not the only one to have noticed that.)  It’s always been my intention to offer “tips and techniques” for communicating with animals on this blog. I just didn’t know I was going to begin it now.  I also had a vague idea that when the time was right I would begin in an orderly fashion — you know, start at the beginning and progress neatly, step by step, through the process. Oh well — it’s a blog, after all, not a manual. There’s nothing like leaping right into the middle.  So, while the post I had intended to write several weeks ago on cats as energy/dream workers is still percolating, something else is pushing itself forward — just like something a wise dog told me a long time ago.

I had contacted this wonderful dog, an elderly golden retriever, on behalf of a human client, but we — the dog and I — were enjoying each other so much that toward the end of our conversation the dog asked if she could contact me again. I was flattered but uncertain, so I said “I don’t know if I’ll be aware of you trying to contact me.” I was still very new at this work, and it’s not like she could just ring me on her cell phone.

This smart, experienced dog told me “If I just pop into your head while you’re not thinking about me, that probably means I want to talk to you.”

This is one of the best lessons, and some of the most useful advice I’ve ever received on the subject of animal communication. So a tip to keep in mind when you’re working, playing, traveling, or otherwise occupied, and your beloved animal companion just pops into your head for no reason — know they’re thinking about you and would like some interaction.  If you are able to, take a moment and just feel the love in that thought of your animal companion. Allow your love for them to rise up expansively — just let it fill you in that moment. Then send it out to them. Sending is so much easier than you might think. It only takes the clear intention to do so.  Just give that love a little “push” in their direction.  If you like you can visualize it as a sparkly cloud or bubble, a beam of light (my favorite visualization), or a shower of sparkles, or see yourself covering them with a warm blanket, caressing their fur, tossing a toy, handing them a treat, or anything that works for you as a way of expressing your love. Sometimes it’s fun to let an appropriate visualization come spontaneously, without a lot of conscious thought, in response to whatever you intuitively sense the animal might be seeking from you. You can even add words, if you wish, like “You’re such a good dog,” or simply “I love you.” Just send it out and wait a moment.  Allow yourself to be open and feel anything that may come back to you. In all likelihood it will be something like a burst of joy, a deepening of that love, or a feeling of the animal’s presence as though they were there with you and loving you as they always do. You can do this anytime from anywhere as a way of quickly tuning into your animal friend’s energy, and sharing a loving moment with them.

I hope you try it. I’d love to hear about how it feels to you, or about any experiences you might have with this or similar techniques. I’ll answer questions in the comments if I can.

Animal Spirit Message: Rabbit

RabbitI know you must be thinking, “Hey! What’s going on here?  It’s only February.  You couldn’t wait and drag out Rabbit for Easter, or at least Spring? ” I get it.  But I’m taking my cues from Rabbit, who enjoys being unexpected, and — apparently — wants to speak NOW.   (We’ll have to wait and see who does emerge in the Spring.)

You have to be quick to catch me. I create with abandon, fertile with life and joy. Spirit flows through me abundantly, dances and plays with me. I have much love and much fun in my secret, hidden world as well as in the overworld. Always remember that I live in two worlds. There is more to Rabbit than meets the eye; much that you never see.

I enjoy visiting your world above the ground, but am at my full power and strength in the secret underground world that is mine, where I bear and nurture my young and can be my deepest, truest self in peace and safety.

I am perceived as weak, vulnerable and fearful in the upper world, your world, where many creatures prey upon me. I would rather be viewed and thought of as the ruler of my underground domain who sometimes comes up to play in the light. That is my mystery and the aspect of me that is often overlooked because no one sees it.

I am light of heart and spirit. I have no real worry or fear because I am fast and clever and my home is safe and hidden from all eyes. I am wise and foolish, both together.

I know better than to call my predators to me with excessive fear. That would be silly. The fearful ones, the timid, unsure, or reckless are most often taken as prey.  But I am so abundant, so many in number and so sure of my continuation [as a species] that I am available to nourish those who require me as food. I create new life easily and joyously and make gift of it when there is need. This is a source of pride to me.  There is enough of ME to go around, so many bodies to play and dance in, to endlessly experience life with abundance, ease and joy.

What humans perceive and the stories they tell about ME are not important, they are not ME at all. Thank you for seeking my truth.

My advice?  Learn to cherish the true source of your abundance, the beauty and worth of your deep inner being, and dance and play in the sun when you can. It is not what you expected of me is it? You did not know that I could be wise. Now you know the true Rabbit — always unexpected, yet gentle and gracious in nature and intent.  Know that I delight to surprise you, yet expect no harm of me.

New Year’s Wisdom

photo_2I’m running a little behind this year in setting my goals and intentions and doing some creative planning for 2015. Here we are, more than two thirds of the way through January and I still haven’t finished my “resolutions” yet.   (On the plus side, that means I haven’t broken any yet either.) Somehow I get the feeling that I’m not alone, which is why I’m sharing this here.

So, naturally (being me), I decided to ask the cat. Rune can generally be trusted to offer a different perspective, help me see the important thing I’m missing. Her wisdom is so very grounded, common sense, and matter of fact.

When I asked her if there are things she wanted for us or for herself in this new cycle of our life together that has just begun, she was puzzled. “You mean this morning, when you got out of bed?”

Well no, not exactly, although I could certainly see how she would think that.  Just as Luna is my “nighty-night” kitty who says good night, blesses our bed space, and makes bedtimes special, Rune is the early riser who comes running in the morning when I finally drag myself to an upright position. She jumps on the bed, purring at full volume, greeting me and the start of a new day together.

Bigger than that. I tried to explain, imaging the larger cycles of season to season, dark-time to light-time. She was supremely indifferent. “But the sun rises every day. Why not just start there?”

I got her point. No matter how big the cycle you look at, you still have to live each and every day as it comes.  That means each and every day, is a chance to start fresh, to begin anew. Sure, we’ve all heard that before.  Maybe it takes a cat’s nonchalant, casual acceptance to bring it home. There’s a quality of presence called for in that outlook that’s hard to deny. It calls for one to focus more on living each moment fully, even as we include in those moments our goals, intentions and plans for the future. We can celebrate even the largest of life’s cycles by honoring where we are right in this moment.  It is, after all, the culmination of all that has gone before and the jumping off point for all that is to come.

But there’s the matter of dreams. Dreams are something that cats know a great deal about.  It seems likely that I will be posting much more about that in the weeks and months to come.  Cats sleep, after all, 18 to 20 hours a day, spending much of that time immersed in an energy world that most humans can only dimly comprehend.  Even with all the glimpses I’ve received over the years, I didn’t think it through when I asked “What about your dreams?”

This question was met by blank incomprehension as I realized I’d made the mistake of confusing the human notion of dreams as something desired but not yet manifest in the world with a cat’s experience.

“Yes,” she responded.  “I’m enjoying my dreams today.”  In that non-verbal way that the essence of thought is transmitted from one being to another, I understood that Rune’s dreams are as much a treasured part of her experience as her meals, her playtime, the warm sun on her fur, or her interactions with me. Our distinction between “dream” and “reality” has no meaning to her.  It is all simply and equally part of that thing we call Life.

There’s such a richness of learning for me in this brief exchange with my wise cat.  As of this moment, my “plan” for 2015 is to make a new beginning each day, honoring all my experiences, including my dreams and desires – both those which are already manifest, and those still in the process of becoming — as that which adds spice and savor to the process of life.

If that should prove tricky, I will remember to ask the cat.